When the Clan met their non-conference provincial rivals, the Douglas College Royals, on Tuesday night, it was not expected to be a close game — nor was it. The score sheet displays a 90-point victory for SFU, 147-57.
However, the Clan were held off the scoreboard early, and despite clearly dominating the play from the first second, they couldn’t net one until about two minutes in, when freshman Patrick Simon scored twice in a row to put the Clan up 4-0.
“We [need to] shoot the ball a little bit better than we did in the first 10 minutes,” said head coach James Blake.
Once the vault opened, however, SFU started racking up the points. It took star guard Sango Niang just over nine minutes to score his first of the game, but he finished second in scoring with 20 points, and first in assists with 11.
Simon would be the star of the first half, putting up 15 points, but slowed down in the second half, only notching two more.
Although the Royals were clearly outmatched, the game was a back and forth effort, featuring blink-and-miss-it action. The Clan controlled possession more often, Douglas’ main weakness was an inability to put the ball in the net, despite an abundance of chances.
In particular, 6’9 Douglas forward Reng Deng was a pain in SFU’s backside, leading the Royals in scoring with 17 points.
The Clan went into halftime up 76-31, already a sizable lead, and a higher score for SFU than the final of many of last season’s conference games.
Douglas actually gunned to the quick start in the second half, taking their point total to 35, before Niang put in a three-pointer to open up SFU’s scoring in the second. The Clan would score another two three-pointers immediately, including another by Niang, to once again take control of the game.
At one point, SFU scored 25 straight points, showing off the fast-paced Clan offence at its finest.
Guard Justin Cole led the Clan in points with 21, and tied with Niang and Roderick Taylor-Evans for field goals, making eight of 15 attempts. Forward Michael Harper led the team in total rebounds with 13.
With the win, SFU remains undefeated (not counting their Division I exhibition matchups). They have yet to be tested in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), however.
Coach Blake was pleased with the team’s effort, noting that he was unhappy with the team’s previous game despite the fact it was a 135-103 victory.
“We responded, I thought Saturday night we were really sloppy and we just kind of took the game for granted,” he explained. “We worked on [. . .] attitudes: attitudes on the bench, attitudes pressuring the ball and not giving up on possessions.
“It doesn’t matter the level of competition, [. . .] you play the same way,” he concluded.
Before returning to the West Gym, the Clan will travel to California to face four different teams. On Saturday, December 6, when SFU returns, they will face their first GNAC opponent, the Western Washington Vikings, who finished second in the conference last season.